Jess with a real great post on the Rephlex Grime LP. Glad he liked it too. Must say that I've played the elpee pretty compulsively since I received it a week or so ago, and it just gets better with every listen.
Stick with Slaughter Mob, though, Jess. I, too, was most taken with the MarkOne and the Plasticman tunes initially (especially the awesome MarkOne opener, 'Stargate 92'). But the Slaughter Mob tracks are real growers. To whet Nick Gutterbreakz' appetite even further, their 'Fireweaver' is almost like a 00's Cabaret Voltaire, with its paranoia-as-a-form of resistance worldview ('Fear is the most powerful weapon we have' 'Trust no-one', 'Question Authority') and simmering electro insinuations. Ditto the bleak acid of 'Black Hole': all Voice of America-style pitched-down vocal samples and viscous synths.
I have to assume from the near-radio silence on the Wiley LP hereabouts (ironic that there's so little on the blogs about it, given the Petridis review) that everyone is as underwhelmed by it as I am. It's not that it's bad. It's more that it only just meets expectations and in doing so falls short of them. I haven't yet experienced anything like the compulsion to play it that the Rephlex LP excites.
Wiley palls by comparison not only with the most obvious parallel, his protege, Dizzee, but also by comparison with himself. If - as Simon sagely insisted - Dizzee 'superls' as both a producer AND an MC, the discrepancy between Wiley's abilities on the mic and on the PC are all-too evident on Treddin on Thin Ice. Again, it's not that Wiley is a bad MC. Far from it. But he's not good enough to stop you hungering for the desolated splendour of the eskidubs. As an MC, Wiley lacks Dizzee's rhythmic invention, verbal exuberance, affective register and - to put it at its simplest - his 'vocal grain', that ineffable but completely material vocal signature. As Nick Gutterbreakz, one of the few to break cover on this subject, has plaintively said, the painfully attenuated 'interlude' versions of 'Ice Rink' and 'Eskimo' cry out to be heard in their entirety. (Nick's right that 'Special Girl' is like some E. London cousin of a Kanye West track; but where Kanye has a mellifluous spirituality [the speeded-up vox playing like cyborg angels], the helium samples on the Wiley track sound like crystal meth demons haunting some piss-stenching Bow underpass.)
There's a strange paradox about the LP, in that Wiley's repeated insistences that 'his heart is cold' actually add a human warmth to the tracks that they gloriously lack in their vocal-free versions. Any vocal would be an unwelcome interloper in the eerie calm and smoking rubble of 'Ground Zero''s depopulated carnage. I know I won't be alone in seconding Nick's call for an LP of eski instrumentals.Posted by mark at May 5, 2004 08:19 PM | TrackBack